Forced into a massive overhaul of their season schedule because of COVID concerns, Week 6 of the NFL season looks a little different than it did when it was originally released earlier this year. But like every week, there is some money to be made.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-8.5), TBD
Forced into an unexpected bye week due a virus outbreak with the Patriots, these teams have had a lot of time to get healthy. But the thing to keep track of is Cam Newton’s availability. If he’s cleared to play, take the Pats to cover. If he doesn’t, lock in on Drew Lock and the Broncos.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-5.5), TBD
Congratulations to Romeo Crennel, at 73 the oldest head football coach in NFL history. His first game as the interim in Houston was a great success and we suspect the Texans will experience a revitalization under him over the next few weeks. So take the Texans.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4), 51
Can’t wait for this one. The Browns are 4-1 for the first since 1994 when they were coached by Bill Belichick. The Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since their Steel Curtain days in 1979. We like the Browns a lot, but winning in Pittsburgh with a banged up Baker Mayfield is a lot to ask.
Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles (+7.5), 47.5
We know how accomplished the Ravens are on offense, but it was their defense that stood out during their rout of Cincinnati. It sacked Joe Burrow seven times. When the only bright spot in Philadelphia is a receiver named Travis Fulgham, you figure the Eagles are primed for another beating. Baltimore will cover.
Washington Football Team at New York Giants (-3.5), 43.5
Washington is a mess. And so is its Football Team. And while the return of Alex Smith was both incredible and inspirational, it will do nothing to resolve a quickly deteriorating situation. Meanwhile, the Giants are the best 0-5 team in recent memory. Take Big Blue to cover.
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings (-3.5), 57
We’d like to believe the firing of coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff will signal the start of a Falcons renaissance. But we won’t let ourselves go there, at least not this week. After almost beating the Seahawks on Sunday night, the desperate Vikings will cover or their season is over.
Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars (+3), 53.5
Did you know the Lions have yet to fumble this season? So don’t say we never say anything nice about them. But let’s face, it Matt Patricia doesn’t figure out a way to beat a Jacksonville team in the throes of a four-game losing streak his future, like Quinn’s, will be as a defensive coordinator on another team.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (-8.5), 45.5
What is the big deal about Philip Rivers? We never can understand it when some pundit predicts he’s a certain Hall of Famer. The guy sucks. He sucked when it counted in San Diego and he’s sucking for $25 million a year in Indianapolis. If not for Indy’s defense, we’d almost be tempted to take the Bengals. But stick with the Colts to cover.
Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers (-2.5), 44
The Panthers opened the season with two straight losses and then lost Christian McCaffrey. At that point, you figured it would be a long season for rookie coach Matt Rhule. But now the Panthers are tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the NFC South. We say they stay on their roll for at least one more week.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-8), 49.5
The Jets (0-5) are off to their worst start in 24 seasons. The organization is a total embarrassment and God help Trevor Lawrence is he lands there with the first pick of the 2021 draft. You want an exciting young team? Give the Dolphins a look. They kicked ass in San Francisco on Sunday behind the ageless Ryan Fitzpatrick. These fish can swim.
Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1.5), 52.5
Give Tom Brady a break. Sure, the Bucs lost a tight one in Chicago last Thursday night, but their offense was also without five key skill position players. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to keep it close against the Packers, a team with Super Bowl aspirations and an MVP candidate in Aaron Rodgers.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (+3.5), 49.5
You’ve got to feel bad for the 49ers. Injuries have tortured them on both sides of the ball. How else do you explain getting manhandled at home by the Dolphins? Jimmy Garoppolo looked awful in his first game back from a high ankle sprain and he was likely benched in an effort to keep him alive. They have no chance against the Rams.
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills (+3), 55
The Chiefs allowed 490 yards in their home loss to Las Vegas. Suddenly, it was 2018 again, a year they needed to rack up 50 just to compensate for how bad their defense was. The defeat snapped a 13-game winning streak and now they know the upstart Bills are gunning for them. But we say Patrick Mahomes rebounds in the big way.
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys (+2.5), 53.5
Give Jerry Jones credit for having the foresight to sign Andy Dalton to back up Dak Prescott. If not for that, the Cowboys might have watched their season being carted off with Prescott following his grotesque ankle injury against the Giants. Do they deserve to be 2.5-point dogs at home to the Cardinals? Absolutely not.